Roselle Marie Blanchard
January 28, 1939 – June 4, 2019
Roselle Marie Blanchard January 28, 1939 – June 4, 2019
When Tomorrow Starts Without Me.
“When tomorrow starts without me, please try to understand, that an angel came and called my name, and took me by the hand; The angel said my place was ready, In Heaven far above, and that I’d have to leave behind all those I dearly love. But when I walked through Heaven’s Gates, I felt so much at home, for God looked down, smiled at me, and told me “Welcome Home.” So, when tomorrow starts without me don’t think we’re far apart, for every time you think of me, I’m right there in your heart.” -Unknown
Roselle Marie Blanchard, 80, of Redwood City, California passed away on Tuesday, June 4th, 2019 with an amazing number of family and friends by her side. Her husband Thomas J. Blanchard of Sixty years was also right by her side, holding her hand every moment and talking to her the entire time until she passed on. While her death was unexpected, it was a beautiful representation of what Roselle was known for best – creating a wonderful circle of family and friends who love one another and her unconditionally.
Roselle was born to the late Frank and Ella (Krois) Engel, January 28th, 1939 in Bismarck, North Dakota. Her ancestors were rooted in Austria/Hungary where many from the Krois family still reside. Roselle’s younger Brothers, James Engel and Stanley Engel, have visited and uncovered many family members that make up an impressive family tree. There is even a street named Krois which Roselle’s youngest daughter, Stacy Blanchard (born 1974), found when visiting in the early 2000’s during a business trip. When Roselle was about 3 ½ years old, her Parents and their then family of six moved West and settled in Redwood City, California. Frank and Ella had their oldest son, the late Richard ‘Dickey’ Engel (born 1936 and died in 1959), Patricia (Engel) McAllen (born 1937), Judith (Engel) Funch (born 1940) as well as Roselle along for the trip. They settled in a small, yet efficient home located at 1614 Union Avenue. For those who know the local area, there is still a home on the land!
Roselle ended up being the third oldest of nine children. Her Father worked days, he also worked nights bartending while her Mother, Ella, tended to the kids and the household. As you can imagine, Roselle had endless stories of her duties and challenges as one of the oldest while also quick to fill in stories of the great fun, playing softball in the streets together and many laughs they had growing up as children. Her oldest Sister Patricia reports of the endless dish washing and floor scrubbing as part of their household duties. Her stories of the love, respect and true friendship she had with each of her siblings is another unique characteristic of the Engel Family Roselle carried forward to replicate with her own family in her married years. In 1942, their family faced a tragic loss when Frankie Engel, who was about 2 ½ months old, passed away from what today we would likely call SIDS. Ella and the family however were resilient and strong, pressing ahead to tend to their full and busy household. Frank and Ella went on to expand their family bringing Stanley Engel in 1944, Constance ‘Connie’ (Engel) Vierra in 1946, Terri (Engel) Mitchel in 1948 and James Engel in 1950. YES…that brings the Engel household on Union Street to a total of 10!! At this stage in life, Roselle had acquired the nickname, ‘Punky’ or ‘Punk’ which she was not at all a fan of. Her sisters Patricia and Judy say this name was the result of their older Brother, Dick, being unable to say ‘Roselle’ properly. And so, ‘Punky’ and ‘Punk’ emerged…and it stuck! Most of her sisters to this day including a few of her Nieces still refer to her as ‘Punk’ or ‘Auntie Punk’.
She went to grammar school at Washington Grammar School and went on to graduate from Sequoia High School in 1956 in Redwood City, CA. In High School she was the one that while she played on the girls’ basketball team and enjoyed her role in the acapella choir, her bigger focus was on typing class, business math and short hand in the hopes of being gainfully employed after High School. Patricia and Judy say Roselle was not the mouthy one who got into trouble (plenty of other Siblings to help with that!), she was outgoing, loved music and dancing, but the word ‘refined’ continued to surface as they described their Sister. She spent time with her family and her very close friends LaVerne (Bingley) Beale, Carol Rannals and Sandra Ratkovich. These friends ended up being lifelong friends she was in contact with until the end of her time here on earth. There are stories of Roselle’s 1942 Dodge convertible that used to put out loud pops and smoke at every stop, but…’it did the job’ as Roselle would say. There are also stories of Patricia and Judy calling her by her beloved nickname ‘Punk’ in the hallways of the school and both report Roselle essentially ignoring them and pretending as if she did not know them. The sisters got quite a giggle out of those times. Roselle’s focus on practical business classes came to serve her later in life with a career in the Title industry while also taking on various bookkeeping projects for personal clients. One of her Sisters tell the story of Roselle as the ‘mad typer’ always able to type at speeds no one could comprehend, while holding a conversation on a completely different topic and directing the work of others. For those who know Roselle’s kids – you now know where they get it from.
In the Fall of 1956 as a new High School grad, life for Roselle truly began. While she had reported in past stories she was also newly engaged to a local home builder, one evening while at Marquarts Drive-In, she crossed paths with Thomas ‘Tom‘ Blanchard of Menlo Park, California who at the time worked at the Menlo Park Post Office. Tom was at the popular local drive-in with a number of friends as was Roselle. While you can ask her living Siblings, Friends and Children for the fun and heartwarming love story, Tom ended up driving Roselle home with his friends as she could not find her car (hmm…suspicious!). Tom locked the map back to Roselle’s home in his head, showed up the next day to ask Ella if he could see her Daughter. Ella quickly responded back with, ‘may I ask which one?’ Thankfully they figured out which Engel girl it was and for Tom it was confirmed, love at first site. For Roselle that new engagement was called off as Tom sufficiently wooed her off her feet. They went on to marry on September 6th, 1958 at St. Pius Church. While a few pictures exist, it was so hot that day the photographer had an issue with the film and all pictures were ruined.
Just four months after getting married, they faced a very difficult loss. Roselle’s oldest Brother, Dick, who was just in her wedding had suddenly passed away late January. This was just days before Roselle’s 20th birthday. Roselle has told stories of her oldest Brother Dick and their relationship many times over the years and as you may know while we always celebrated Roselle’s birthday it was a sad reminder of the ‘best friend’ and great Brother she had lost.
In 1960, Tom was drafted to the Service and stationed at Ford Ord US Army post in Monterey Bay, California. After his first 8 weeks of Service on his trip back home to see Roselle that December, Tom couldn’t bare to be away from his ‘Bride’ and begged Roselle to come to Seaside, CA so they could be together while Tom finished his time. While Roselle was a bit homesick as their first home in Seaside, CA was literally a ‘dump’ and brought Roselle to tears on a few occasions, she made it ‘home’ on a shoestring budget. While there are many great stories of life for Roselle & Tom during this time, money may have been tight, but that did not stop them from making the most of the great friendships that came to be, nor lack creativity in what could be done with hamburger meat nor hold them back from starting a family! Roselle had their first baby girl, Tami Jean, on September 19, 1960. Roselle had told the story of Tami costing ‘8 dollars’ to be born and having to get up not long after having Tami to make her bed!
In 1962, Tom finished his time in the Service and he and Roselle settled back to Redwood City, CA to engage in many family gatherings, great friendships and in the St. Pius Parish. In their early years, Roselle was big in the Women’s and Tom with the Men’s Club as well as hosting numerous events, bingo and dances. They are known as one of the ‘originals’ of the Parish that made it what it is today. Given how big and welcoming Roselle’s family has always been, there were many fun and seemingly endless nights of card games at their home or the home of one of her siblings.
Roselle and Tom went on to have two other children, the late Thomas P. Blanchard in July of 1964 and Stacy A. Blanchard in May of 1974. While Roselle had a flourishing career in the Title Industry, Tom’s 35+ years at Hewlett-Packard afforded them the opportunity for Roselle to work part-time while running the household, helping her Mother Ella with a Pre-School she owned for a period and supported a range of activities for Tami, Tommy and Stacy. Roselle was a ‘go getter’ and ‘looker’ as Tom describes her and always dressed in the latest style and hair done just so. She did not need to work, but rather insisted on it as she had specific ideas about home projects, things she wanted for her Children and figured out how to get that cashmere sweater she might want all while being a diligent saver. She was incredible with finances, investments and keeping their immediate family as well as her larger family very close. Roselle hosted many holidays in any given year, created great memories for all who were in her home and while the family was big…ALL friends were welcomed no matter the circumstances. While she was not a huge traveler and loved her time at home, they enjoyed many memorable trips to Hawaii, Mexico, Vancouver as well as many road trips over the years with family and friends.
Roselle as a Mother created the absolute best experience growing up while preparing her kids for the practical side of life ahead. Fun birthdays, engaging in every and any sport, expanding opportunities for her kids in a range of extra-curricular activities, spoiling her kids at Christmas while ensuring they knew how to balance a checkbook, split what is spent vs saved and manage finances before the age of 13. While being all who Roselle was as a person, she again faced a series of major losses in her life - in 1983 she lost her Father, Frank Engel, two years later lost her twin Grandsons, Thomas and Nicholas in 1985 as well as her youngest sister Terri (Engel) Mitchel in October of that year. At one point Terri and her family lived just two blocks away from Roselle in Redwood City, CA before moving onto Woodside, CA which afforded them ample to visit, bake, shop and simply enjoy one another. Roselle’s children have many great memories of the laughs and good times they spent together. In all that emotion and loss however, she created room for life, love and living for her busy and growing family.
She had a clear point of view on most all topics and was never afraid to speak her mind – all describe her as a great communicator. She loved anything having to do with gardening and plants, was quite talented at ceramics and was known to host many Tupperware and Art parties for friends while ensuring her walls and cabinets were plenty covered! She was a great cook and for those dishes she was well known for she never needed a recipe. Roselle as a woman balancing life and work - wife, mom, sister and friend was a true role model for many and her kids credit their Mom for the people they have become today. While she lost her own mother, Ella Engel, in 2006, no matter the ups and downs, twists and turns life dealt out, Roselle showed with her actions what a real-life love story and marriage was all about. The Blanchard clan as a result are typically the last ones on the dance floor no matter how bad the music, are true to their word, put others before themselves, have neat and well-organized homes and will lean in when the chips are down all while taking care of whatever the business of the day may be…every time.
Because of Roselle, her loving marriage to Tom and wonderful family you will find many stories of long weekends with Roselle, Tom, their kids as they were in their older years, their son-in-laws and in many cases the Grandkids all together for long weekends in Cambria and Dylan’s Beach, cruises to Mexico and Alaska or just hanging out at their pool for a weekend BBQ and cards. She and Tom created an environment of love, fun and inclusion that even the Grandkids who were close preferred to be with them over their friends on most occasions. Quite impressive to those who spent time with her. Roselle became a Grandmother to nine, the late twins Thomas and Nicholas and is survived by Ken, Kelli, Emilie, Dylan, Devin, Ella Rose and Paige as well as her first great grandson Jay. She is survived by her husband, Thomas J. Blanchard, siblings Patricia McAllen, Judith Funch, Stan Engel, Connie Vierra and Jim Engel and children Tami Brodsky and Stacy Blanchard.
Roselle’s Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, June 15th, 2019 at 10:30am at St. Pius Church in Redwood City, CA. Roselle will be laid to her final resting place at Holy Cross Cemetery in Menlo Park, CA. The Family welcomes all who are present to procession to the cemetery together and join them for the burial services. Father Tom Martin who read Roselle her last rights on June 4th, who led services for the late Tom P Blanchard (2018) and who is the Head Pastor of St. Pius School will be leading our services on June 15th.
Reception immediately following at the home of Roselle’s daughter and son-in-law, Stacy Blanchard and Joel McKinney located at 1909 Terry Lane, Redwood City, CA 94061.
We welcome anyone who would like to speak at either the Church or cemetery to share stories.
You can visit her website at https://www.dignitymemorial.com/obituaries/redwood-city-ca/roselle-blanchard-8735730 for details. Please understand the Family is moving as fast as they can. The website will be update as information is available.
Flowers & Donations
While Roselle’s favorite flower is the pink carnation and the Family is supportive of whatever form of remembrance works best for you, in lieu of flowers, the Family has created a Fund with St. Pius in her memory. Given Roselle’s passion for gardening and all things green, this Fund will be used to plant the two front flower beds of the St. Pius Church with annuals and perennials through the years. This brings her love for flowers and the many memorable years on the campus of St. Pius together in one place for many to visit, reflect and enjoy. Payment can be made directly to St. Pius Church in Redwood City, CA with a note ‘In Memory of Roselle Blanchard’.
If loved ones prefer to send flowers please send to Redwood Chapel in Redwood City, CA and they will coordinate delivery to the Church and cemetery.
- Funeral Service Saturday, June 15, 2019
- Graveside Service Saturday, June 15, 2019
Roselle Marie Blanchard
June 15, 2019
Thank you Blanchard family for being a part of our extended family out in California. We will miss you Roselle
McKinneys in Michigan
June 13, 2019
Tom, Tami and Stacy I am so sorry for your loss. While I haven't been a close family member for some time, I truly do consider you all a part of my extended family and have the utmost respect for all of you. So much loss should not happen to one family in such a short amount of time. I will always remember fondly the years I spent as part of your family and hope you can all find some comfort in knowing that she is now with her son, Tommy, whom she loved dearly. Know that your family is never far from my thoughts (and never has been) as you all are a part of my sons' lives; therefore, a part of them as well. Again, my sincerest condolences on all of your loss.
June 10, 2019
Our love and sympathy to you, Tom and family, over Roselle's passing. We were so sorry to hear.
Roselle was a graceful and kind woman and we were all fortunate to know her. (We still display the ceramic duck in our garden that she made for us MANY years ago. )
Our prayers are with you all.
Nancy and Mike Sanchez